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Economy in Brief

Philadelphia Fed Survey of Nonmanufacturing Business Activity Index Is Roughly Steady
by Tom Moeller  May 24, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that its Index of Nonmanufacturing Sector Activity at the company level was fairly steady in May, for a second month, at 18.2 versus 17.8 in April. The measure has been declining, however, since early last year. The expectations index for general activity deteriorated sharply, however, and reversed its April improvement. These diffusion indexes are seasonally adjusted.

To the upside were the new orders, sales, inventories and prices paid components.

The employment readings for full and part-time workers were roughly unchanged, as were unfilled orders. The capital expenditure figures also continued to trend sideways.

To the downside were prices received, employee workweek and wage & benefit costs.

The index of future general activity fell to the lowest level in three months.

The Philadelphia Fed figures are diffusion indexes which are calculated by subtracting the percent of respondents reporting poorer business conditions from those reporting improvement. Thus, they have a good correlation with growth in the series covered. The data is available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey (Diffusion Index, SA) May Apr Mar May'15 2015 2014 2013
General Activity - Company 18.2 17.8 17.5 37.7 31.4 38.8 29.8
  New Orders 23.1 13.9 17.0 19.3 21.7 27.9 20.2
  Sales or Revenue 23.6 9.6 19.0 30.5 23.6 30.2 27.0
  Inventories 8.9 6.5 8.3 8.6 5.2 5.8 3.0
  Number of Full-Time Permanent Employees 10.6 7.5 6.1 7.5 15.6 17.3 18.8
  Prices Paid 22.4 10.9 3.2 13.0 19.3 19.7 20.6
Expected General Activity - Company 39.1 56.0 42.2 50.0 54.0 60.1 47.4
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